Gazing at mesmerizing holiday lights is a long-loved December pastime, especially in Jersey where going all out is encouraged. Amp up your traditional self-guided twinkling lights tour around your hometown with these unique displays sure to illuminate your holidays.
Meander Through Six Flags Great Adventure’s Holiday in the Park
Six Flags transforms into a winter wonderland with over one million glittering lights throughout the park. Santa’s village, the candy cane forest, performances and seasonal treats make this celebration, marking its second season, even more memorable. Every 30 minutes the 52-foot tree glows with dancing lights and festive music. Before you head home, take a stroll down the tranquil pathway of lit trees and stained glass showcasing religious holidays from around the world.
1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson. Through January 2. Included in amusement park admission.
Hop Aboard DiDonato Family Fun Center’s Holiday Express
Calling all fans of The Polar Express, you’re in for a treat on this real-life magical train ride. Travel over the bridge, past the schoolhouse and right by Santa’s workshop as you gaze out the window at the one million lights along the train tracks. For the first time, the center is setting up this attraction complete with holiday murals painted on the back of the facility’s bowling alley.
151 South White Horse Pike, Hammonton. Everyday through December 31. $14.95.
See Lights Dance at Historic Smithville’s Light Show on The Lake
In the center of Historic Smithville, over 120 Christmas trees made out of lights magically float on Lake Meone. Once it’s dark, an orchestrated show of lights and music plays. View this show from either side of the village as you take a break from shopping at the boutiques. Pay a visit to the magic talking Christmas tree brought from Santa’s private forest. Tell the tree what you want for Christmas or just talk about the holidays.
1 North New York Road, Smithville. Every Thursday through Sunday until January 6. 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Free.
Journey Through The Lights Spectacular at The Turtle Back Zoo
Lighting up the winter night sky are 50 animal and holiday-themed figures made from over 100,000 lights. Stop by some real animal exhibits—including Sea Lion Sound and Tropical Currents Aquarium —after your lights tour. Warm up inside as you sip some hot cocoa and munch on toasty s’mores. Bring donations of nonperishable food items, new toys and gently used coats to support local charities.
Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange. Through January 2; closed December 24-25. 5 pm to 9 pm. Free.
Be Amazed on Johnson’s Corner Farm Light Show Hayride
Johnson’s Farm offers families a double dose of holiday glow. Under a canopy of lights, you’ll take a hayride around the farm. New this year is the light show on the lake complete with thousands of dancing lights and music. Recite your wish list to Santa atop an antique tractor. Decorate cookies or roast s’mores around the two fire pits (the farm even makes its own marshmallow, yum!).
Johnson’s Corner Farm, 133 Church Rd, Medford, Open daily through December 30 (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
Rides and attractions in Storybook Land bring your favorite childhood tales and characters to life like Mother Goose, Jack and Jill, the Three Little Pigs and the Old Woman in The Shoe. Head to the North Pole where Santa Claus pops out of his chimney, waves his magic wand and ignites the park’s one million lights each night. Santa will be in his house until December 23 (he has a big job to prepare for, after all).
6415 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township. Through December 23.
Drive Through The Christmas Lights Course at Skylands Stadium
Cruise along this mile-long course filled with two million lights. Enchanting light tunnels, marvelous light sculptures and twinkling snowflakes will put you in the holiday spirit. Tune in to 102.3 FM WSUS—the Christmas station—and let festive music hum through your speakers on your drive through. Don’t miss the Christmas village, open until December 23, featuring photos with Santa, performances and shopping inside the event center. Drop off a toy in the Toys for Tots collection bin on your way out.
Skylands Stadium, 94 Championship Place, Augusta. Through January 1 (closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve). $17 per carload, Monday–Thursday; $20 per carload, Friday–Sunday.
Travel through themed rooms decorated with strings of colorful lights, then make your way to the Pavilion for crafts, treats and games. From December 26 to 28, once Santa’s big night is over, he’ll visit the animals at the aquarium. Take photos with scuba Santa as he waves from inside the tank. The aquarium teamed up with K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital for a pajama, blanket and Play-Doh drive. Each night during the event you can drop off new items to be donated to the patients.
300 Ocean Ave, Point Pleasant Beach. December 26, 27 and 28. 6 pm to 9 pm. $7.
Jump on a Cape May Holiday Lights Trolley Ride
Ride through Historic Cape May to see festive inns and homes blazing with lights as guides talk about Victorian Christmas traditions, lead sing-alongs and play music. Then, feel like you stepped into Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol at the Carroll Gallery. Beneath a decorated Christmas tree is a tiny village inspired by the treasured Christmas tale complete with model trains. Kids can write a letter to Santa and leave it in his special mailbox at the gallery.
Begins at Washington Street Mall, Cape May. Most nights through December 31. Adults, $12; Children (ages 3-12) $10.